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MatSitar

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi!

I know that this is probably an old subject but I want to know..

I want your experiences and knowledge about these two wood possibilities. I know that Burmese Teak is the best teak for sitar and Mahogany ''opens'' faster than teak but it have a lesser chance to stay straight in the futur. Teaks have a more bitting tone and mahoganys have a warmer sound. Teak is heavier too. What else I need to know? My dream tone is between Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee. Lars already talk to me about this type of wood (thank you by the way!) but I like to have all the information and experiences I can get! I am in the path to buy a teak sitar but I am curious!

Thanks a lot and sorry if you are tired to talk about that, but I am relatively new to this beautiful world of sitar

Mathieu
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coyootie

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Reply with quote  #2 
From my experience working on sitars for some 40 years, I prefer toon or mahogany.If a sitar is well built with seasoned wood,there should not be problems with the wood warping or bowing.I recently built a sitar with Honduras mahogany and the response and sound is terrific.It is harder and stiffer than toon wood but not as dense as teak and does not need the time to open up that teak seems to require.
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MatSitar

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I see, but beside the longer time( 1 year ? ) for breaking up, it can be comparable? If so, why builders continue to build sitars made of teak and not just use mahogany as it is suppose to be more easy to work with. There should be some advantages to use teak beside cosmetically?
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StVitus

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Reply with quote  #4 
Selling teak and mahogany instruments allows them to sell to people who prefer either wood. Or to sell both to collectors. And the makers might want some variety in their work.
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coyootie

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Reply with quote  #5 
Toon and teak have been used in India because they are resistant to insects.This is not so much of an issue outside Indian climate.
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Sitarfixer

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Reply with quote  #6 
Also, it becomes a matter of what wood is available. A lot of teak is furniture grade - not so hot with lots of soft spots and scattered grain. Vintage Burma teak is the choice for that type wood. Good luck finding it these days. I'm a mahogany fan. Sure, it's easy to get here in the USA and not that horribly expensive. It also has a very consistent grain, is friendly to chisels and files, holds a stain well and looks great when varnished. Sound is also right on. Every sitar I've built has produced a sound quality I'm very pleased with. The oily nature of teak, unless really old and well seasoned can be a problem where tuning pegs slipping becomes a real issue. Stories of rubbing alcohol being q-tipped into the peg holes of Nikhil Banerjee's sitar have run the circuit. I'm pretty sure that is the reason the fashionable white chalk on the peg shafts was born - to keep the oil in check, at least through the scheduled performance. Tun can have some soft and gritty spots across the surface. This is why a very careful selection of materials is critical for high end instruments.
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MatSitar

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thank you everybody for your advises! I'll take them into consideration. I might finally go with mahogany since it will be my first pro quality sitar. Next one will be in Teak so I will have the best of both worlds!
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